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Dear Editor: 

The New York District of the INS has stepped up its use of a certain sadistic practice at naturalization ceremonies.  All candidates for swearing-in come to the ceremony with a form asking whether or not, since the interview, they have remarried, traveled, committed a crime, become a Communist, practiced polygamy, etc.  “Yes” “No” boxes are checked off.   The signed form is handed in just before the ceremony.  The New York District officers have taken it upon themselves to ask the questions orally.  If a candidate stumbles on the questions (which is not unusual if the questions are asked verbatim and rapidly) or just freezes up, more questions follow.  If the DAO decides that the candidate does not speak adequate English, the candidate is sent home.  This is followed by an INS motion to reopen and an instruction to come back for another test.  The only basis for reopening under the law is the receipt of "derogatory" information.  The New York District has taken the position that an indicated inability to speak English at the ceremony is "derogatory" information.  Most of my clients are Chinese and many (if not most) of the rejects at the ceremony are Chinese.  I believe that this second English test at the ceremony violates the INS law and regs and local case law. What should be a glorious and proud day becomes a day of disappointment and humiliation.   I am wondering if your readers have experienced this sadistic practice in other districts. 

John L. Moncrief

Immigration Lawyer


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